Is Donald Trump wavering on his promise to build a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico?
Some say yes, but others have weighed in with “not so fast.”
Trump himself says he is not any less committed to the wall.
But much of the national media is using the “c” word to describe his current level of commitment to the wall, which may be the most important issue to his base. Trump is “caving,” according to headlines in the Washington Post and CNN.
Trump says that’s hogwash, a figment of the “fake news” industry.
Don’t let the fake media tell you that I have changed my position on the WALL. It will get built and help stop drugs, human trafficking etc.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 25, 2017
He doubled down Tuesday evening at a round-table with farmers.
“We’re gonna have the wall built,” he said. “I don’t know what people are talking about. I watch these shows and the pundits in the morning, and I don’t know what they’re talking about. The wall gets built, 100 percent.”
It’s one thing when the left-leaning Post and CNN say Trump is backing away from his promise, but quite another when conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh and author-activist Ann Coulter suggest he could be caving.
‘Caving on demand for measly $1 billion’
“I’m not happy to have to pass this on. I’m very, very troubled to have to pass this on,” Limbaugh said on his Tuesday show. “And I want to say at the outset that I hope my interpretation is wrong, and I hope this is not the case. But it looks like, from here, right here, right now, it looks like President Trump is caving on his demand for a measly $1 billion in the budget for his wall on the border with Mexico.”
Limbaugh said Trump may be caving to the Democrats, who are outnumbered in both the House and Senate, because he fears they will engineer a government shutdown if he persists with his plans for the wall.
“The Democrats are threatening a government shutdown. It’s the same old same old, and I was hoping that Trump would throw this shutdown thing right back in their faces and have everybody realize they’re the ones engineering these shutdowns that nobody would notice anyway unless a big hullabaloo was made about it,” Limbaugh said. “The Democrats seem to have successfully used this stupid, silly threat of a government shutdown to get their way. What Trump is saying is, if we need to get this done, then I’ll delay the spending on the wall until September. And it’s just a measly billion dollars.”
Limbaugh said, “Every delay is a further nail in the coffin.”
Coulter suggested the controversy over funding the wall is largely a diversionary tactic.
She tweeted, “There are lots of ways to pay for the wall!”
Lots of ways to pay for the wall! Treasury report: illegal aliens paid $4.2 billion/year in refundable tax credits. https://t.co/lqfDJ7Cyy4
— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) April 24, 2017
On March 16, President Trump sent a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan requesting certain items be included in the continuing resolution that Congress must pass to fund the government for the remainder of the fiscal year after the current CR expires on Friday.
The letter requested $1.4 billion this fiscal year so he can start construction of the wall, a central promise of his campaign. His 2018 budget request calls for another $2.6 billion for the wall.
Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., pulled the border-wall funding from the April continuing resolution. In its place, the Republicans are now talking about increasing funding for various technological improvements, namely drones.
Coulter retweeted immigration expert Mickey Kaus, who said: “Drones are the way GangOf8ers always try to buy off GOP base. DT asking for wall & getting drones worse than not asking.”
She then retweeted an even more devastating accusation from Kaus.
Getting nothing (in this shutdown bill) would be better than getting drones. Drones are a signal to base: “We think you can be conned!” https://t.co/JK5jBWMwER
— Mickey Kaus (@kausmickey) April 25, 2017
By Tuesday afternoon, even Trump’s own spokeswoman, Kellyanne Conway, told Fox News that Trump is still committed to the wall but that other border-patrol “technology” enhancements will be included in the budget bill – another reference to drones.
Drones won’t cut if for Trump, Kaus said, not with his base.
Kaus said: “If Trump doesn’t get wall built, he loses much of his base. If he picks a gratuitous fight on the wall and then caves on the wall, heaven help him.”
Schumer cheers Trump
The Democrats’ mantra has been that the wall is “too expensive,” as well as “immoral.” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., cheered Trump’s decision to back off his demand that Congress fund the wall in this year’s budget.
“If the administration insists on poison-pill riders or extraneous funding requests, then our talks could get sidetracked, particularly if the administration demands funding for a border wall,” Schumer said in a speech on the Senate floor.
“Democrats have been long clear that the border wall is a nonstarter.”
Wall supporters say the border wall is actually not very expensive and that it will pay for itself in a few years through reduced crime, welfare, public schooling and health-care costs for illegals and people with drug addictions.
$1.4 billion less than 1 federal agency spends in 12 hours
President Trump’s request that Congress include $1.4 billion to fund the beginning of his proposed wall on the U.S.-Mexico border equals approximately 0.035 percent of what the federal government will spend in total this year, according to the latest estimate of fiscal year 2017 federal spending made by the Congressional Budget Office, reported CNSNews.com.
It also equals less than the Department of Health and Human Services spends in just 12 hours and less than the Treasury collects in taxes in four hours.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, introduced a bill Tuesday that would make drug lords pay for the wall. He calls his bill the EL CHAPO Act (Ensuring Lawful Collection of Hidden Assets to Provide Order Act), named for the infamous drug kingpin Joachin “El Chapo” Guzman, and it would use money forfeited from the criminal prosecution of drug criminals to pay for wall construction.
The U.S. government is currently seeking $14 billion from El Chapo for his drug-trafficking and conspiracy crimes.
“Fourteen billion dollars will go a long way toward building a wall that will keep Americans safe and hinder the illegal flow of drugs, weapons and individuals across our southern border,” Cruz said.
Hawkish immigration PAC prepares to dump Trump
William Gheen, president of Americans for Legal Immigration, or ALIPAC, said his group is preparing to pull its endorsement of Trump, giving him a deadline of April 30 to demand that Congress fund the wall, end Obama’s DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program for illegals and cancel Obama’s Muslim refugee deal with Australia.
“We are on course to drop our endorsement, yes,” Gheen told WND Tuesday. “The news about the border wall, combined with the Australian refugee deal and DACA, it’s very unlikely that’s going to all change by Monday. But if he does, we will gladly continue to endorse him. But ALIPAC does not support candidates who support amnesty and unconstitutional policies and, unfortunately, that is who Donald Trump is at the moment.”
Gheen said his organization would issue a press release Wednesday calling on Trump “to not just end DACA but this dumb and dangerous, secretive agreement Obama made to use taxpayer funds to import dangerous Muslim refugees from Australia.”
Trump has decided to honor a deal negotiated by Obama’s secretary of state, John Kerry, to accept at least 1,500 unwanted Muslim asylum seekers who arrived by flotilla in Australia. Most are from Afghanistan.
Trump has also failed to drastically reduce the number of refugees entering the U.S. from terrorist hotspots around the world, including Somalia, Syria, Sudan, Iraq and Afghanistan. A total of 4,741 refugees have entered the U.S. from the five countries alone since Trump’s first full day in office Jan. 21, according to the federal Refugee Processing Center database.
Refugees from these five countries are entering the U.S. at a rate of nearly 350 per week. Radical imams continue to enter the country as well, not as refugees but on the R-1 “religious visa,” which allows foreign spiritual leaders to stay and preach in the U.S. for up to 60 months, after which they often will qualify for a green card.
“At this point, we intend to drop the endorsement on April 30 because he is making it abundantly clear that he is not the man that he promised us he was during the campaign,” Gheen said. “At this point, we do not expect the border wall to be built because he has violated so many of his promises.
“One, he’s not building wall; two, he’s continuing to violate the Constitution and numerous existing laws and his oath of office and his campaign promises to continue giving DACA amnesty to illegal aliens,” Gheen added. “That’s four important things he’s violating, and Trump made a huge mistake agreeing to continue Obama’s secretive deal to import dangerous Muslim refugees Australia doesn’t want.
“We’re a very conservative group, a pro-America, pro-borders group. We’re not liberals, and we’re not fake news,” Gheen continued. “We endorsed Trump. We donated to Trump. We volunteered for Trump, attended rallies for Trump, defended Trump and attacked Trump’s opponents in the media and campaigns for over a year. And while he may not be concerned about the loss of ALIPAC’s endorsement, we know … it will mark a true turning point where Trump’s base on immigration starts walking out of the stadium doors.
“He is proving that he cannot be trusted and that he does not truly believe in the things he had been saying on the campaign trail.”
The Border Patrol agents remain strongly in favor of an upgraded barrier along the border, but many have said they don’t like the idea of a concrete wall they cannot see through. They would prefer a fence.
Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd blasted Ryan for not funding President Trump’s border wall in this year’s budget.
Judd joined Stewart Varney Tuesday morning on the Fox Business Network’s “Varney & Co.”
Stewart Varney: There is a report this morning that Speaker Paul Ryan is suggesting that Congress delay border wall funding until next year. What do you say about that?
Brandon Judd: I disagree. President Trump promised he was going to secure the border and part of securing the border is putting in place the proper technology and resources that allows us to be successful. And a border wall in strategic locations is one of those things that must get done.
Besides funding, and convincing Congress to provide it, there are also environmental hurdles to jump over in building a border wall.
Building a wall “is complex in some areas,” including Big Bend National Park and along the river, which twists through nearly half of the 2,000-mile border, said Trump Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.
Hundreds of species live within 30 miles of the border, including threatened jaguars and Mexican gray wolves, according to an Associated Press report. The Trump administration is poised to relax protections for the jaguars to make it easier to build the wall.
Back on March 29, the AP reported that Trump may be backing away from his promise to build the wall.
“Zinke’s comments, and the administration’s budget proposal seeking billions in U.S. taxpayer dollars to finance the project, offer a reality check and a possible sign the president is moving away from his initial plan.”